Back on September 26th, when the NHL announced the Winter Classic game, New York Rangers’ president and general manager Glen Sather said, “We are going to come to Philadelphia and we are going to win.” Well, much as the 1994 Rangers got behind team captain Mark Messier and his, “We will win game 6, I guarantee it.” statement, the 2011-2012 team backed up Sather’s words with a dramatic come-from-behind victory at Citizen’s Bank Park 3-2 over the Philadelphia Flyers Monday afternoon.
This one had just about something for everyone. It wasn’t unlike a fight from “Rocky” as the Rangers took a beating early but had their own resurgence at the hands of a fighter, Mike Rupp, who scored twice in 2:30 to tie the game and then scored again minutes later with a beautiful Brad Richards goal for what proved to be the game winner.
But not so fast. There was something for everyone as a mental error in the crease by Ryan McDonagh led to a penalty shot chance for Danny Briere with 19.6 seconds left in regulation that was denied when his attempt to go five-hole was slammed shut by Henrik Lundqvist.
Just a tremendous event, an incredible game and a great win by a New York Ranger team that is showing signs that this is turning into something special.
Great job by players who were developed by Head Coach of the Whale, Ken Gernander. Ex-Wolf Packers Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan each had helpers on the game-winner and now ex-Connecticut Whale center John Mitchell had helpers on the first two goals.
Here’s the official release:
1st 2nd 3rd OT Final
New York Rangers 0 1 2 – 3
Philadelphia Flyers 0 2 0 – 2
– The Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2, today in the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The Blueshirts have now won seven of their last eight games.
– Mike Rupp notched two goals and Henrik Lundqvist (34 saves) turned aside the first penalty shot attempt in an NHL Winter Classic game with 20 seconds remaining in regulation to lead the Rangers to victory. After a scoreless first period, the Flyers and Rangers combined for three goals in a 2:25 span of the second. Brayden Schenn and Claude Giroux gave Philadelphia a 2-0 lead with goals at 12:26 and 14:21 of the middle frame, respectively. Mike Rupp responded 30 seconds later to cut the Flyers’ lead to 2-1 heading into the third period. Rupp tallied his second goal of the game at 2:41 of the third to tie it up, and Brad Richards notched the eventual game-winner at 5:21.
– New York improved to 24-9-4 (52 pts) on the season, including a 13-6-2 mark on the road, to open up a three-point gap over second-place Boston in the Eastern Conference standings and a four-point advantage over Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division standings.
– The Rangers now sit atop the NHL standings with 52 points. Their .703 winning percentage leads the league, while their 24 wins are tied for first and their nine regulation losses are the fewest in the NHL.
– This is the latest the Rangers have been in first place of the Eastern Conference standings since the 1995-96 season, when New York held the top position through games played on Mar. 15, 1996 (game #68). *courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
– The Rangers have now won five consecutive games against the Flyers dating back to last season, and are 3-0-0 vs. their Atlantic Division rival this season. New York has out-scored Philadelphia, 19-6, during their current five-game winning streak head-to-head.
– New York has registered at least one point in 23 of their last 29 games (21-6-2), dating back to Oct. 29, after beginning the season with a 3-3-2 mark. The Rangers have out-scored their opponent, 94-61, during the stretch.
– The Rangers held the Flyers scoreless in two shorthanded situations (2:49), and have now held their opponent scoreless in each of the last four games (11-11, 100.0%). The Blueshirts’ penalty kill is 36-40 (90.0%) with four shorthanded goals in the last 13 contests, and New York is now 16-4-2 when holding their opponent scoreless on the power play.
– The Blueshirts now lead the league with a .300 winning percentage when trailing after two periods (3-6-1). Their three, third period comeback victories are tied for sixth in the NHL.
– The Rangers established an NHL Winter Classic record with 50 hits, and tied the NHL Winter Classic record for most blocked shots with 20 in the contest (Philadelphia, 2010). New York had eight different players with three or more hits, which is also an NHL Winter Classic record, led by Ryan Callahan (11) and Brandon Dubinsky (10). The Rangers also tied the NHL Winter Classic record of three different players with three or more blocked shots. Dan Girardi tied the NHL Winter Classic record for most blocked shots by an individual with four.
– Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves, including the first ever penalty shot attempt in an NHL Winter Classic game with 20 seconds remaining in regulation, to improve to 17-7-4 overall with a 9-4-2 mark on the road. Lundqvist extended his winning streak to five games, posting a 1.20 goals against average, .962 save percentage and one shutout during the streak. He has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 19 games this season, including in eight of his last nine contests, and is 15-4-1 with a 1.74 goals against average, .942 save percentage and two shutouts over the last two months (20 games).
– Mike Rupp notched two goals, was credited with two hits and posted a plus-two rating to capture first star honors. It was Rupp’s first multi-point effort as a Ranger, and he is now eight points shy of 100 career NHL points.
– Brandon Prust tallied two primary assists, was credited with four hits and posted a plus-two rating in the contest. He has now recorded three assists in the last six games.
– Brad Richards notched the game-winning goal at 5:21 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie, and registered four shots on goal. It is the second consecutive game Richards has tallied the game-winner, and he now ranks second in the NHL with six game-winning goals this season. He has registered three points (two goals, one assist) in the last two games.
– John Mitchell recorded two assists and posted a plus-two rating in 11:07 of ice time. It was Mitchell’s first multi-point effort as a Ranger, and he has now registered three points (one goal, two assists) in the last six games.
– Brandon Dubinsky tallied the primary assist on Richards’ game-winning goal to extend his point streak to three games (two goals, one assist over the span), and tied his career-high with 10 hits in 18:30 of ice time. He has now tallied six points (three goals, three assists) in the last six games, and is two points shy of 200 career NHL points.
– Ryan Callahan registered an assist on the game-winning goal to extend his point streak to five games (one goal, five assists over the span), and was credited with a team-high, 11 hits in 17:21 of ice time. Callahan is also riding a four-game assist streak, recording five assists during the stretch. His 11 hits tied his career-high.
– Marc Staal was credited with one hit and posted a plus-one rating in 12:41 of ice time while making his season debut, after missing the first 36 games of the season with a concussion suffered last season.
– Dan Girardi was credited with four hits and led all skaters with four blocked shots in a game-high, 28:35 of ice time.
– Ryan McDonagh registered four shots on goal, three hits and three blocked shots in 25:57 of ice time.
– Carl Hagelin tied for the game-high with five shots on goal, and logged 13:46 of ice time in the contest.
– The Rangers will return to action when they face-off against the Florida Panthers on Thursday, January 5, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to begin a back-to-back set. The game will be televised live on MSG Network and can be heard on 1050 ESPN Radio.